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REHACARE CHINA: Inclusion and innovations for China’s emerging rehabilitation market

Rollstuhlfahrer auf der REHACARE CHINA

Nearly 85 million people with disabilities lived in China in 2020 – this corresponds to roughly the entire population of Germany. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Chinese rehabilitation market is booming and REHACARE CHINA celebrated a successful debut under the heading “Driving Inclusion” in August 2023. We took stock with our colleagues Marius Berlemann and Hannes Niemann and also spoke with them about the current edition of REHACARE INTERNATIONAL in Düsseldorf.

REHACARE CHINA presented pioneering perspectives for self-determined living and developments in the area of rehabilitation from 23 to 25 August 2023. The event focused on China’s growing demand for medical care and the integration of people with disabilities. Together with the concurrently held Medical Fair China impressive standards were set with a total of 47 exhibitors, 9,215 visitors and over 3,000 m² of exhibition space.

Marius Berlemann, General Manager Messe Düsseldorf Shanghai, and Hannes Niemann, Project Director of REHACARE INTERNATIONAL, have reviewed the history of this event for us.

The Lancet – as one of the oldest and most renowned medical journals – defines China as the country with the highest demand for rehabilitation worldwide. In 2022 to the tune of 460 million Chinese require rehabilitation; and the rehab market in China continues growing: in 2025 it could reach a volume in excess of EUR 27 billion. This means demand for solutions for self-determined living is rising and this is precisely where we kicked off with the first REHACARE CHINA,” says Marius Berlemann summing up the history of the trade fair. “To us in Düsseldorf the rising number of exhibiting companies from China several years ago prompted us to consider a rehab trade fair for the Chinese market. It is, of course, not possible to develop such an event out of Germany so we networked with the team in Shanghai at an early stage,“ adds Hannes Niemann explaining the Düsseldorf perspective.

“Driving Inclusion” at REHACARE CHINA

Although local societal conditions and the political framework are slowly changing, the number of people in China with disabilities and rehabilitation needs is high and its population will age massively by 2030 (buzzword Healthy China 2030), there is still a lack of visibility and inclusion.

Marius Berlemann and three others, including a wheelchair user, on a stage in front of a screen with Chinese characters
Marius Berlemann at an event leading up to REHACARE CHINA

“We still have a long way ahead of us until especially people with disabilities can participate in social life on an equal footing. As part of our REHACARE charity events a man with a visual impairment told me in confidence that he was very afraid of e-scooters in the street because he found it hard to spot them. This encounter is an example of the obstacles we continue to face despite technical progress and one that I could not forget,“ reports Marius Berlemann. This is why, for our Chinese colleagues, raising greater awareness and removing barriers is a key aim. Under the heading “Driving Inclusion” REHACARE CHINA put the focus on integration. It served as a platform for success stories where people affected were able to share their experiences related to employment and social integration with the aim of raising greater awareness in society for the interests of people with disabilities.

Successful re-start of Messe Düsseldorf Shanghai

REHACARE CHINA features in a long list of events that our subsidiary in Shanghai has successfully mastered this year already. Despite the more difficult circumstances due to Covid in the previous year Messe Düsseldorf Shanghai is back in full swing in sync with its regular cycle. This year 2023 will see the team bring its complete trade fair portfolio to the market in China for the first time, serving various target groups. Successfully so: in the first half of 2023 CIOSH, Chinaplas, Valve World Asia, ProWine Hong Kong and Tube China all surpassed their pre-pandemic visitor figures.

In addition to REHACARE CHINA, the second half of the year will also bring six other important trade fairs to China and the international efforts taken by our colleagues from overseas are also bearing fruit: the partnership with the China Textile Commerce Association comprising the launch of CIOSH Thailand 2024 will open new doors outside of China – another milestone for Messe Düsseldorf Shanghai and Messe Düsseldorf Asia.

REHACARE in Düsseldorf doubles as a stage for innovative rehabilitation solutions from China

However before that, let’s turn our sights to Düsseldorf: after all, REHACARE INTERNATIONAL also promises to be an exciting event with international flair that presents forward-looking innovations in the area of rehabilitation technologies. Joining the fray will be over 140 Chinese companies that combine functionality, convenience and user-friendliness in their products and technologies. The Chinese Pavilion groups 32 of them providing visitors with a comprehensive insight into the latest developments and solutions.

“This is precisely the USP of REHACARE in Düsseldorf: it is the only international rehab event,” stresses Hannes Niemann who goes on to say: “In 2015/2016 we clearly noted a significant uptick in the number of exhibiting companies from China. This trend reflected the positive developments on the Chinese rehab market: back then many companies manufacturing medical aids came into being which wanted to present themselves on an international level. And now they are already bringing high-tech solutions to Düsseldorf.”

To Marius Berlemann examples of this include the “Shanghai Bang Robotics and Siyi Intelligence Technology, which will showcase intelligent robots for barrier-free travelling and exoskeletons for self-determined living.”

Experience technical progress live at REHACARE

Generally speaking, Digitalisation and Robotics are the big drivers of REHACARE. “There are wheelchairs that climb stairs or can be controlled by the eyes only via Google Glasses, and travel suitcases that can automatically follow a wheelchair thanks to Bluetooth.” The enterprises exhibiting at REHACARE also include those that can put autonomous driving into practice once they receive the legal greenlight. “One should never lose sight of the fact that for our target group this is not just a ‘nice to have’ but absolutely vital for making life easier, which would mean an entirely different type of freedom and self-determination,” underlines Hannes Niemann.

Other highlights at REHACARE flagged up by Hannes Niemann include the Sport-Center in Hall 7a, organised jointly with the Behinderten- und Rehabilitationssportverband Nordrhein-Westfalen (Association of Disability and Rehabilitation Sports NRW), and the kick-off challenge for the CYBATHLON 2024 organised by ETH Zurich. Held in parallel with REHACARE in Düsseldorf are also therapie Düsseldorf as well as the Invictus Games.

Curious? REHACARE INTERNATIONAL in Düsseldorf runs until September 16, 2023 – secure your tickets right here:

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